The achievements of Pettigrew Academy students were celebrated Tuesday night as they performed songs, poetry and presented a play about the life of Johnny Appleseed before family and friends.

“This is our end of the year program, so we try to incorporate our curriculum into to it. That is why we had a garden and nature theme because gardening is such large part of the program here with the Ellis County Master Gardeners who come and work with the students,” academy director Kim Bauman said.

“Everyone was promoted to the next grade level and accomplished all of their goals for this year. It was a really great year and we had a couple of new families come in. They have just been amazing and giving of their talents,” she said.

Students recited poetry they had learned throughout the year and performed songs including “Walking on My Wheels” by Dan Crow, which tells of a person who uses a wheelchair but doesn’t let life get him down. Its message is one of acceptance of others and not to stereotype. Another song was “One Little Person” by Sally Rogers, which says that anyone can make a difference on the world. Its lyrics list historical figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Students also practiced their Spanish-speaking skills through the song, “De Colores,” about the colors in nature.

The highlight of the evening was the play about John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and his spreading of apple seeds in the Ohio area, the people he encountered and his love of nature.

“We have practiced a lot in the last week. We have been working on the songs on and off probably for the last couple of months and our Spanish words all year long. We try to choose our poems that reflect nature here. Students do memorize a poem with a different theme each month,” Bauman said.

“Johnny Appleseed was chosen because it incorporates history, the westward expansion, the geography of Pennsylvania and Ohio and the importance of nature in our society. I’m proud that all the students got up and tried their best,” she said.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.